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What would you give up to have a second-chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love?

Wild Card is a STANDALONE SECOND-CHANCE ROMANCE from the NYT bestselling author of The Pact and Before I Ever Met You.

Rough, raw & rugged.

As the man in charge at Ravenswood Ranch, Shane Nelson has never been afraid to get his hands dirty. His sculpted physique isn't the product of a gym, but of years of hard labor under a relentless sun. His straightforward, alpha tendencies come from a man who knows what he wants and goes after it.

And what he wants is Rachel Waters.

He's never stopped wanting her.

They were childhood best friends, then teenage lovers who evolved into soulmates. But on one fateful night, Shane made a grave mistake, breaking both their hearts in the process.

Now, after six years, Rachel is back in the small, wild mountain town of North Ridge, BC.

Ready to face her past.

Ready to face Shane.

Ready to face his dark secret.

But is a second-chance at a one true love in the cards? Or will their wild hearts be broken once again?

WILD CARD is a complete standalone novel and the first book about the Nelson brothers of North Ridge.

292 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 13, 2017

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About the author

Karina Halle

139 books15.9k followers
Karina Halle is a screenwriter, a former music & travel journalist, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, & USA Today bestselling author of River of Shadows, The Royals Next Door, and Black Sunshine, as well as 70 other wild and romantic reads, ranging from light & sexy rom coms to horror/paranormal romance and dark fantasy. Needless to say, whatever genre you're into, she's probably written a romance for it.

When she's not traveling, she and her husband split their time between a possibly haunted 120 year-old house in Victoria, BC, their sailboat the Norfinn, and their condo in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.authorkarinahalle.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 548 reviews
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29.1k followers
August 23, 2017
3 - 3.5 Stars

I am going to preface this review by stating that I am in a really shitty mood today.
And the fact that I am babysitting my nieces today and just had to wipe a three year old's disgusting ass is very fitting for the mood I'm in.

You're welcome for that lovely visual.

Here's a picture of my dog fucking up my laundry to offset the gross.


My point here is that I might be churning out a few reviews today, and my mood might be reflected accordingly.

So there's that...fake smile.

Anyway, this book.

This was a very middle of the road read for me and I can't really put my finger on why.

I love second chance romances and I really like Karina Halle, so I'm really not sure what was missing here.

I definitely felt the connection between Shane and Rachel, but I felt like the big "aha" moment where Rachel finally finds out why Shane broke up with her was kind of underwhelming in comparison.

Also, being that we were already getting flashbacks of the past (not my favorite thing, but it was okay here) I felt like we got shortchanged by not getting a flashback of the actual breakup scene. Supposedly it was pretty epic and heart wrenching and, holy shit, the angst would have been delicious.


Otherwise, this was a decent read that I think most others will enjoy more than I did.

Definitely looking forward to a book on Maverick and OMGFox.

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Profile Image for Christy.
3,818 reviews32.4k followers
August 16, 2017
4.25 stars!!!

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Wild Card is a beautiful and emotional second chance romance. It’s a fantastic start to Halle’s newest series (all can be read as stand-alones) and I was hooked from the start.

Rachel and Shane meet when they are kids and Rachel is new to town. A friendship between them blossoms into more, and as teenagers, they are in love and fairly certain the direction their lives will go. Something happens in Rachel’s life that changes both of them forever and drives them apart.

It’s been six years since Rachel has been home. Six years since she’s seen the love of her life that was lost…. Shane has not lived fully since Rachel left. He lost a big part of himself when she went away, but one thing he never lost was the love he felt for her. He’s got a chance now…. A chance to make things right between the two of them. And he’s going to take it.
I’m a man who wishes on broken bones. I’m a man who has a second chance to make things right.

What I loved most about this book is that it was different than the normal read by Karina. I’ve read so many books by this author, but none of them were quite like this one. I love it when authors can diversify and they don’t always write the same old same old. Halle never does that. Each book of hers is different in some way or another.

Shane Nelson is a spectacular hero. He’s kind, hardworking, sweet, and sexy. He loves without abandon and he’s not afraid to show it. My favorite part of this book was how much he loved Rachel and the sacrifices he was willing to make for her. Rachel has been through so much, but she is strong. I loved watching her heal, forgive, and move on with her life.

Wild Card is full of adventure, steam, emotion, and heart. It kept me captivated from the start and I highly recommend this one to those who love second chance romances!
He loves me fiercely, with abandon, the kind of love that sets fire to things until we’re standing in the ashes.

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Profile Image for Maria✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
662 reviews2,417 followers
August 16, 2017

➦She loved a cowboy once and got her heart broken...

➦After years of staying away she's finally back home where it all started...

➦Will there be a second chance for them?

➦If you're a fan of cowboys, second chance stories and small town romances then this one is definitely for you! It's a beautiful and heartbreaking story that managed to reduce me to tears in the end. I fought real hard, people! *lol* Karina Halle is just one of those authors who will squeeze those tears out of you no matter what.

➦I am super excited to read more about these cowboy brothers and can't wait for book 2 in the series. There were glimpses about the tropes to come and I think next one might be friends to lovers. My favorite! So yeah, grab yourself a cowboy, everyone! :)

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Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,830 reviews2,188 followers
August 16, 2017
4 stars!

“Just because someone has a broken heart, it doesn’t mean the heart doesn’t work anymore.”

Six years ago, Rachel left the town of North Ridge and fled to the city of Toronto, heartbroken and alone. Now she’s returned to her hometown because she’s learned her mother has cancer. With a career and a boyfriend to get back to, Rachel is eager to avoid her past, mostly her ex Shane, the man who destroyed her six years earlier.

Shane mad a choice years ago, and it’s one he’s always regretted. Shane works on his father’s ranch, a country boy with a dog and his truck. Now that Rachel is back in town, it brings up many memories for Shane. And while he tried to give her space, it becomes clear the two need closure. But Shane wants Rachel back, and he’s gonna fight for her.

“The fault of man is that we never live long enough to be the person we want to be.”

Second chance romance is like catnip for me, I cannot get enough of it! Karina Halle delivers an emotional and intense romance between two people who were ripped apart too early in their love story. Rachel and Shane had such a sweet and innocent romance, childhood friends to lovers, later to be ripped apart. You couldn’t help but root for them to be together.

I really liked Shane and Rachel as individuals as well as a couple. Rachel is a driven young woman who does the right thing even when she’s been wronged by those who love her. All Rachel really wants is security and for someone to love her. Shane is a quiet yet bold cowboy, a man living a simple life but he knows what he wants and he will tear about the earth for it.

A romance many readers will love, I cannot wait to meet the rest of the men in the North Ridge series!

“My heart would always return to him.”

ARC provided by the author. All quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product.

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Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,575 followers
August 16, 2017
Live https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074T4GGT5/...

4.5-5 stars

Karina Halle delivers a captivating,emotional,intense and hot story.She did a wonderful job with the storyline where it switched back and forth from the past to the present and we can learn more about Shane and Rachel.


I feel connected to the characters and I loved that we had both POVs.It makes the story more intimidate.Shane is an amazing character,he is sweet,swoon worthy,intense and he cares for Rachel.Rachel is also great.I loved their chemistry and it was nice to see the progress they made.

If you are looking for a hot cowboy who will make you swoon and melt Shane is perfect for you.I can't wait for Maverick and Fox's books!!!


Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,164 reviews7,602 followers
August 14, 2017

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WILD CARD: is a standalone novel and the first book within the North Ridge Trilogy by Karina Halle, spoken in ‘Dual Perspectives,’ A second chance Romance with an HEA. Which flits from ‘Past to Present’ effortlessly. This book is Shane and Rachel’s story.


The last place twenty-six year old Rachel Waters ever expected to see herself was back at North Ridge with her estranged mother and her childhood ex boyfriend Shane Nelson. The boy that stole her heart the first time she saw him in class aged nine, to the teenager who professed he loved her, to the one that broke her heart years later.

It had been six years since she’s fled North Ridge never expecting to ever return, until she got the one phone call she never wanted to get, her mother Vernalee, needed her, she’d been diagnosed with stage 1A lung cancer.

Shane was the first boy she’d kissed, the boy who she gave herself to, the boy who stole her heart and stamped on it, the boy who kept her secrets. The boy she never forgot. But he had his work cut out for him if he ever wanted to get her back.

"I loved you then, I love you now, and I loved you in all the light and darkness in-between. I love you with all the wilderness I can't tame."

Wild Card had the perfect blend of romance, heart break and forgiveness and was a great first book in the North Ridge series, and I can’t wait to read about the other two brothers.

"Love isn't a chain, Rachel. It's not a shackle. Love is what sets you free, love doesn't confine. What I feel for you...it's wild and it's raw and it's as real as that sun above us."

An unexpected slow moving second chance romance story with a blissful HEA. It wasn't all just focused on the romance aspect of the story but healing, a place to finally call home, family, love and mending broken bridges. This author won my heart when it came to her high octane full of nail biting suspense with 'Sins of needles trilogy' so to see her softer side shine through with this book had me lapping up all the cowboys she could throw at me. The chemistry and deep profound love these two shared was off the charts, I loved these two characters with a passion. The intensity of mending their mistakes, the craving of wanting to make up for lost time, this was a great way to spend curled up on the couch with a cup of hot milo whilst it stormed outside.

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Profile Image for Alba and Her Secrets..♥.
808 reviews1,016 followers
August 18, 2017
4.5 'Our wishbone' Stars!
ARC provided by the author via Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review.
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In the last few months Karina Halle has become one of my favorite authors. So you can imagine my excitement when she announced a new series about hot (and Canadian!) cowboys. I got even more excited (I feel so lucky!) when I got the ARC and now I can say I absolutely loved this emotional love story!

Wild Card is the first installment in the North Ridge series and it is focused on three siblings who hadn't had the easiest life. This book is about Shane Nelson and Rachel Waters: two people who loved each other fiercely when they were young but very bad circumstances forced their separation and now they reunite after six long years apart.

All I knew was that the love we shared was over.
Years of being full.
Heartful, soulful, wonderful.
All gone.
And he finally gave me the will, the drive, to leave North Ridge behind.
Never to look back.
Never to return.
Until now.

I freaking adore second chance romances and Karina did an amazing job with this one! Wild Card is angsty, dramatic, emotional and, of course, sexy as heck. The chemistry between the main couple is palpable from the very first page and those flashbacks made the story even better! Shane and his raven girl are so beautiful together!

“Rachel,” he whispers hoarsely. He tucks my hair behind my ear, gently cupping my face as he stares into my eyes. “I love you. Body and soul. I will never stop loving you. I will never stop being there for you. You’re my whole fucking life, Raven.”

Obviously, not everything is hearts and flowers (and mindblowing sex!) for them: there are quite a lot of dramatic events that will break your heart and keep you connected to the story! Also, Wild Card has a fantastic list of characters and after finishing I have to say I am really looking forward to the next two books in the series.

“I’m your home. I’ve always been your home even when you’ve been somewhere else, even when you were hating me, trying to forget me, my heart has been your home.”

Therefore, I am rating Wild Card with 4.5 STARS because it was a beautiful second chance love story that gave me all the feels from the very beginning until the end. I want more of these wonderful characters! So, definitely, if you enjoy sexy cowboys who fight to get their first and only love back, check this book out!

Profile Image for Alex ♈.
1,568 reviews1,185 followers
December 18, 2018
I didn’t love this book, but I also didn’t dislike it.
It had many beautiful deep moments, but there were also some flat parts, IMO.

MEGA spoilers!!!

Despite all this the hero was a good sweet guy. Many sweet heartmelting moments.
Since both were not celibate during separation, I had no problem with their pasts.
No actual OW/OM drama.
But the book deals with many sensitive topics and I wanted more depth and background. This part of the story fell flat for me.
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,518 reviews3,782 followers
October 25, 2017
3 Stars

Overall Opinion: I am a true fan of second chance romances. BUT I think that because I am such a fan I also am pretty critical in how I read them. If you follow my reviews you know that I feel like I need certain things to happen in order for a second chance romance story to work for me. (1) the reason for separation. Was it believable? Yes, I did think it was in this case. (2) Did they make a valiant effort at reconciliation or was there a believable reason as to why reconciliation didn't happen? In this book, yeah I guess that happened -- but then again, no. I do think the H could've tried harder to find her though. Just because she doesn't do social media doesn't mean the end of search options, right? I mean the H's dad found her to let her know about her mom somehow...? (3) I need some actual time with them reconciling! In this book I definitely felt that this was lacking. It's becoming a pet peeve of mine to have second chance romances where we get their history and all the past scenes, and then they make up and BAM! Instant HEA. I want more! I want to experience them as a healthy and functioning couple!! I wouldn't even qualify this as a HEA myself, but I know that my standards for that are pretty high -- so others might be just fine with how it ended. So overall it was an okay second chance romance, but it missed the mark for me on some points to have me rate it higher than 3 "just okay" stars.

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Rachel and Shane's story. They formed a strong bond when they were kids that over the years turned into love, but some big event caused them to separate and Rachel moved away. About six years later, Rachel returns when she gets news that her mom is sick. Shane is shocked to learn that she is back, and he takes this as his second chance with her. They confront old hurts, there is some family drama, some big secrets reveled, some sexy times...and they get a HFN ending.

POV: This alternated between Rachel and Shane's POV.

Overall Pace of Story: Good except for the abrupt ending. I never skimmed and I thought it flowed well otherwise. This does have scenes from the past, but I found the back and forth easy to follow along.

Instalove: No, they've known each other since they were kids.

H rating: 4 stars. Shane. I liked him. I did feel a little frustrated that he didn't reveal his reasons to the h sooner (or was more aggressive in his search for her).

h rating: 3 stars. Rachel. I struggled with her hot/cold attitude with the H. She pushes away too much! I wanted to shake her.

Sadness level: Low, no tissues needed

Push/Pull: Yes!

Heat level: Hot. They have some hot tension, chemistry, and scenes -- but not so much it takes away from the story.

Descriptive sex: Yes

Safe sex: Yes

OW/OM drama: No

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: Yes, but not between mcs.

Separation: Yes

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This didn't have nearly enough closure for me! While I would call it a HFN ending, I know that others might be fine in considering this a HEA . See above "overall opinion" section for more regarding my issues with the ending.

How I got it: It was part of my scribd subscription.

Safety: This one should be either Safe or Safe with exception for most safety gang readers depending on personal preferences.
Profile Image for  Sonya ♕Chatterbooks book blog♕.
966 reviews1,092 followers
August 15, 2017

By now everyone knows that I’m a HUGE fan of second chance romance. From the Initial shock of seeing your first love again after all these years, to the unavoidable sexual chemistry and the angst, I truly love reading about how two broken characters can come together despite all of the hurt and distance and finally get their happily ever after. “Wild Card” was everything I hoped it would be. This was a story about love, forgiveness, and knowing that family, is EVERYTHING.

There’s this very familiar saying: You NEVER forget your first love. You would think that being away for six years would’ve made those feelings go away but for Rachel Waters, every emotion came back at warped speed when she comes face to face with the man who broke her heart. Returning home to take care of her sick mother, Rachel knows that being around Shane will be unavoidable but what she wasn’t expecting was to have a lot of unresolved emotions for him and she’s determined to let them all out. But little does Rachel know, there was more to their love than she ever knew about.

“No one’s heart repairs overnight. It takes time to put the pieces back together.

Six years ago, Shane made the ultimate sacrifice that changed the course of his forever. Heartbroken over his decision, he’s found a way to move on and be content with his life. But that all goes to hell when he learns that a blast from his past is in town and she’s about to shake up his world. When you’ve loved someone for so long, how do you let them go?

“I loved you then, I love you now, and I loved you in all the light and darkness in between. I love you with all the wilderness I can’t tame. “

Every time I read a book from this author, I always want to travel!! The scenery in this story was absolutely beautiful and I pictured every single detail about this one. I was in that barn with Shane and Rachel, I was riding horses, and I could’ve felt the summer heat on my face while laying down in the grass. Rachel was a heroine that you fell in love with instantly and my heart just broke for her a few times. This girl was determined to leave the one place that brought her pain but also gave her the greatest love of all and seeing her internal struggle was what made her more relatable to me. Her connection to Shane was explosive and I loved the fact that they both knew that their love was one of a kind.

I can’t wait to see where this series is going to go. This was a beautiful raw love story that made you hold on to your partner just a little bit tighter and thanked your lucky Stars for second chances.

Profile Image for Eliza.
664 reviews837 followers
August 15, 2017


Wild Card is the first standalone novel in the North Ridge Trilogy, and suffice to say Karina Halle surprised the hell out of me with this one. I was not expecting or prepared for the level of intensity I experienced, nor the angst that clung to the pages of this novel.

It’s billed as a second chance romance but for me it’s much more than that. It’s a story of forgiveness and redemption, as Halle takes us on a journey navigating the tatters of what was once a grandiose love.

Rachel Waters has not looked back since leaving North Ridge. Her relationship with her mother can be described as fragile at best, and when the only man she’s ever loved breaks her heart in a callous way, there is no reason for her to stay.

When word reaches Shane of Rachel’s return, it ignites the flame to the candle he has always held for her. He knows he’d be foolish to think anything could ever happen between, there’s too much water under the bridge but when he sets eyes on her the flood gates open and as foolish as it may be he’s prepared to live in hope.

There’s innocence to this story that touched me from its opening pages, and as it continued I became addicted to the hurt, the rawness of the pain six absent years could not diminish. It drove the novel and reinforced how great their love once was and inferno that still rages between them.

Wild Card is a deeply emotional and stunningly heart breaking read. I fell in love with every aspect of it, and wild horses couldn’t keep me away from what promises to be an incredible series.

Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
August 20, 2017

OMG!! This was one of the sweetest, sexiest, and swooniest second chance romances I've read!! The story captured me from the very first page and I could not stop reading until I reached the last chapter. It was incredibly addictive and well-written. Without a doubt, this is a new top favorite!

Six years ago, Shane and Rachel fell in love. They'd grown up together as childhood friends but as they got older, their friendship turned to more. With their history behind them, their bond was strong and when they fell in love, they fell hard. They mean everything to each other, planned a future together, lived and breathed each other. But Rachel also dreamed of a life beyond their small town, and Shane's cowboy heart was rooted at his ranch.

We just wanted to spend every second we could together. We were nothing if not inseparable.
It’s like we knew that time was running out.

He knew she wanted more out of life - the kind of more that he couldn't give her by staying. But when a devastating revelation tore through their lives, he was forced to do something that broke both their hearts.

I never told Rachel the truth about what happened that knight. Why my knuckles were raw and bleeding. Everything was a lie, right down to me telling her, yelling at her, that I didn’t love her anymore.

In the wake of the devastation, she left town and never looked back for six years. She built the life she'd always dreamed of and thought she wanted, but was never able to to fully enjoy it because, even though his actions had torn them apart and even though she wanted to hate him, her heart had stayed behind with the cowboy she still loved.

“I’m your home. I’ve always been your home even when you’v been somewhere else, even when you were hating me, trying to forget me, my heart has been your home.”

When her mother's illness brought her back to the hometown, she had to face everything she'd left behind. And now she was in the one place she never thought she'd return to, living right next door to the boy who'd broken her heart.

“I know what you and Rachel had was special, is special. And I’ve seen special. I’ve seen it with your father and mother. I’ve lived it between me and Ann. Cynics might tell you that young love isn’t real love, but when love is real, it’s real, and time and age don’t have a damn thing to do with it.”
“Rachel and I broke up a long time ago,” I remind him.
“And now she’s living next door to you.”

Now, one of the reasons why I loved this particular second chance romance book so much is that, even though this is one of my favorite Romance subgenres and I read a lot of them, I also sometimes get annoyed when it's either miscommunication or stupidity that drives the characters apart. But this book had neither. The reason for their separation was external. Something outside their relationship tore them apart and I honestly just loved that. There's no cheating or anything. It's just an honest-to-goodness horrible thing that came into their lives and broke them up.

And as a result of that, even though their break up had been intense and emotionally shattering, it was also very fragile because it had been built on a lie. Shane's hand was forced and he's never stopped loving her. So when Rachel's unexpected return to town threw right back into each other's lives, it was only a matter of time before they gravitated back to the only place they both wanted to be -- together.

“Please tell me that meant to you what it meant to me.”
There’s a strange fluttering in my chest.
Fear. Hope. Love. Loss.
“What did it mean to you?” I whisper.
“The world,” he says before he kisses me, quick and light and laced with tenderness. “It meant the whole entire world.”

This was a very fast read for me. It's a full length novel but I just inhaled it. I didn't stop reading from the moment I started. The writing was addictive, the characters were believable, and I really *felt* the story. I particularly love second chance romances because of all the heightened emotions in the reunions and this one was loaded. And for those of you who are looking for sexier, spicy romances, I think you'll also be thrilled because once Rachel and Shane get back together, things really heated up! It was a very well rounded story and one I'd be happy to recommend.

This is the first standalone in a new series of standalones. You could easily read this completely alone. It has a fully resolved ending with a beautiful epilogue, and the next book will be about a different couple.

If you're looking for a sweet, sexy, and swoony second chance romance, definitely try this!!!

Rating: 4.5 stars. Contemporary Adult Romance, can standalone.

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Profile Image for SueBee★bring me an alpha!★.
2,417 reviews14k followers
Want to read
December 9, 2017
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📚 📌 FREE on Amazon US today (12/8/2017) 📌 📚

Stand-alone book 1.
FREE: https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Card-Nort...
Rough, raw & rugged.
As the man in charge at Ravenswood Ranch, Shane Nelson has never been afraid to get his hands dirty. His sculpted physique isn't the product of a gym, but of years of hard labor under a relentless sun. His straightforward, alpha tendencies come from a man who knows what he wants and goes after it.
And what he wants is Rachel Waters.
He's never stopped wanting her.
They were childhood best friends, then teenage lovers who evolved into soulmates. But on one fateful night, Shane made a grave mistake, breaking both their hearts in the process.
Now, after six years, Rachel is back in the small, wild mountain town of North Ridge, BC.
Ready to face her past.
Ready to face Shane.
Ready to face his dark secret.
But is a second-chance at a one true love in the cards? Or will their wild hearts be broken once again?

FREEBIES are often good for MORE than one day. I have gathered all my FREEBIES on a special shelf: Kindle-freebies (currently over 700 books)
Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,156 followers
January 13, 2018
A love worth fighting for...

I’ve never been a big fan of separation angst storylines. You know the ones? Where there’s a big bust up and they spend months or even years apart. For the first time though, I stopped and contemplated it a bit more. Previously, I would tut, tut the hero and heroine, and tell them to stop fighting love. Love is to be embraced not run away from. Why would you want to? If it’s real love you wouldn’t leave what makes you happy. But, what if real love is the reason you push them away? What if pushing them away saves the one you love? What if letting them leave is the one way you know will let them be free?

Wild Card was a story with lots of twists and turns. There are times where you must buckle down and take the pain of what both Rachel and Shane faced. I found myself consumed with a need to look beneath the surface to find out the truth.

Rachel has survived something that no child should ever have to face. No child should ever have to doubt their parent's love and support. Her father was a despicable character who abused his position of power. Rachel’s mother was just weak and should never have put herself before her child. When the one person she trusted turned his back on her, Rachel's life fell apart. Will she ever be able to forgive him? Will the truth set her free?

Shane grew up without a mother and feeling like it was his fault that his mother died. In a way, it was his family’s fault that he felt that way. No child should feel guilty about an adult’s wrong decision. Shane’s brother, Fox, should have been counselled and dealt with for blaming Shane for his mother’s death. These feelings of guilt and shame shaped Shane in his life and he always felt like he didn’t deserve love. When he found it, he wanted to keep it. Unfortunately, his love for Rachel is what pushes them apart.

Six years of heartbreak, hate and humiliation need to be forgotten for Rachel to find her happiness. As Shane knows he caused it, he knows it’s a lot to ask for her forgiveness. He also knows that he will spend the rest of his life making her know and feel his everlasting love. A life without Rachel would be an empty life for Shane. A life without Shane would just be a settling/mediocre/missing half your heart, kind of life for Rachel.

Geez, I cried reading this one. I’m an emotional reader and find it hard to not get sucked into the heartbreaking, angsty, life-altering/risking bits. I also smiled, smirked, squirmed and sighed, just the way I like my romance reads. There were times where I was frustrated and a little cranky, but deep down I understood where all the pain was coming from and why it needed to be dealt with. The highs and lows made the story’s happy ending so much better and left me with a big grin on my face.

Karina Halle does a great job of helping me to see a love that’s worth fighting for. Rachel and Shane's love was worth the six years apart because it never really died. I recognised the love that Karina describes. A real love is worth waking up for and puts a smile on your face. It fills and feeds your soul and makes you want to fill and feed their soul back. I believed in their love and I knew it was worth fighting for.

I highly recommend this love story and I can’t wait to come back for more…especially if we get to see Maverick fall for a book lover and Fox get his head out of his arse and see what’s in front of him.

Profile Image for Malene.
1,200 reviews527 followers
December 2, 2017
Wild Card was a great second chance romance. I wasn’t blown away but I enjoyed myself. I especially enjoyed the introduction of the three Nelson brothers. I’m definitely intrigued by Fox and can’t wait to read his story.
I could definitely feel the connection and chemistry between Shane and Rachel. No doubt about that but I would’ve love more of them reconciling and being back together again as a couple.
Overall a great first book and the next Nelson brother is definitely calling my name.

3 BadAssDirtyRavenStars
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,903 reviews635 followers
December 31, 2022
Wild Card is certainly have the wild appeal. The story is aboutnsecind chance romance. A lot of triggers but Miss Halle done a good job not describing it too graphic. She has respect.

Shane and Rachel, are childhood friends that turned into more during their teeange year. A secret that Rachel hide, riped them apart. Now they have their secind chance.

There are combination of longing, loneliness, determination and family value.

Overall a very good book.

4 stars
Profile Image for Nikki ღ Navareus.
931 reviews429 followers
August 25, 2017

I'll start off with what I liked in this book. How about that cover??? Such an awesome cover!!!

And I've finally found another Karina Halle story that I was able to actually stick with until the end. I haven't been able to find another story of KH's that I've enjoyed since Love, in English. The story telling in this was pretty good. I actually liked the premise.
August 14, 2017
I have so much admiration and appreciation for an author who can surprise me. When you've read dozens upon dozens of books by a single author, it becomes increasingly difficult to be surprised anymore. But Karina Halle remains at the top of a very small list of authors who never fail to give me that moment of pause where I stop to think 'Wow, this is different! She did it again! She went in another completely different direction I never expected and I absolutely love it!' Those were my exact thoughts as I began reading Wild Card, a story that takes place on a cattle ranch in Canada, a beautifully unputdownable story of second chances, wild adventure, and unrelenting love, a story that further cements Karina Halle as one of the most versatile, creative minds I have the pleasure of reading.

This is one of those books that gripped me on the very first page. As the story opened, Shane Nelson is sitting at a local bar, surrounded by regulars, and he's stunned silent to hear his first love is back in town. I can't explain how or why that was so instantly compelling to me, but it had me rapt right away. Immediately I knew I'd be stepping into a small town romance, a story with the potential for a second chance between young lovers whose romance was clearly cut short, a story full of snarky dialogue between townsfolk that made me wish I were bellied up to the bar right along with them. Straight out of the gate I was swept up by the feel of this book. It only took moments for me to know I'd be completely taken by this man in a cowboy hat, a man lost in the memories of the past, a hard-working man clearly admired for his devotion to his land, his town and his family, a man who so obviously loves his ranch as wildly as he loves the one that got away.

Halle is the first author I think of when I want to be carried away to a new location and made to feel and smell and see all the sights of a land I'm so unfamiliar with. I'm an indoor girl stepping into the great outdoors on this particular adventure, and in true Karina Halle fashion, the reader is made to breathe in as much emotion as they are of the breathtaking location the story is set in. Wild Card is as much a love story between Shane and Rachel as it is a love story between Shane and his home. It's very much an adventures of the heart, a lesson in the power of love, but it's undeniably an exciting, unpredictable testament to the power of nature, an ode to the Canadian wilderness, to the unpredictable landscape both respected and feared by the people who know it so well. 

I can't even tell you how much I loved this book. I never thought I'd fall so deeply in love with a romance set on a ranch, with a cowboy on the cover, where the sweat and dirt is as plentiful as the romance within its pages. But I did. I fell so hard for this beautifully unforgettable story, a story unlike anything else this author has written, an emotionally tumultuous, blissfully romantic story of longing and second chances. This story is a relentless barrage of emotion on every single page. The broken romance between Shane and Rachel is enough to captivate the reader all by itself, but when you throw in flashbacks of horrific memories from the past, the wild forces of nature, the tattered bonds between family, the palpable suffering of broken hearts, the secondary characters you can't help but adore, or how unbelievably sexy the story is, you end up with a book that is EVERYTHING I could ever want as a reader. Wild Card is a sexy, emotional, completely enthralling love story from cover to cover, a heart-stopping page turner that I wish I could read again for the first time. I'm wildly in love with this book, I couldn't put it down, and I CAN NOT WAIT for more of the North Ridge series.
Profile Image for Betül.
987 reviews238 followers
August 13, 2017
**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**


"I wasn't drowning in the memories-I was dying in them. And every single thing I felt for her? It came rushing back, a flash flood of desire and pain that nearly blindsided me."

I can always depend on Karina Halle to come up with a great romance story. It doesn't matter if it's a dark, suspenseful, funny or contemporary romance. Wild Card was a very beautiful second-chance contemporary romance. I have read a lot of those and was looking forward to see how the author would differentiate this story from all the rest. I think the main way she did it was with the personalities and actions of the characters. They didn't make the obvious decisions in certain situations.

"Love isn't a chain, Rachel. It's not a shackle. Love is what sets you free, love doesn't confine. What I feel for you...it's wild and it's raw an it's as real as that sun above us."

I either hate or love flashbacks in books. And I was really happy that they were included in this book, because it enforced my believe in their love. Without the flashbacks the story would be missing a lot and it would be harder for me to connect to the characters. Thankfully, they weren't too long and actually added to the story. It was obvious that the love between Shane and Rachel was still alive, maybe a bit broken but not unfixable. However, it wasn't easy for them to overcome their obstacles and I could really feel the pain of both characters. What I also enjoyed reading was the interaction of the main characters with the secondary characters, such as Shane's brothers Maverick and Fox. Especially Shane and Fox have a very complicated relationship, and I am looking forward to learning more about that in the next books.

"Rachel, I love you. I loved you then, I love you now, and I loved you in all the light and darkness in-between. I love you with a wildness I can't tame."

I really loved Shane and Rachel's personalities and they made such a great couple. Wild Card in my opinion was a great first book in the North Ridge series, and I can't wait for Fox and Maverick's stories. This book helped me get out of my month long book slump. There was no unnecessary drama thrown into the story to add angst, so I really appreciate that. All the decisions made by the characters made sense for them, and that is how it suppose to be. Wild Card was another solid contemporary romance by one of my favorite authors Karina Halle!
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,394 reviews444 followers
September 24, 2022

Kiss of death… boring.

Let me revise that, boring until it got nauseating. I didn’t know the reason behind the great big misunderstanding and was blindsided when, while skimming at the speed of sound to get something interesting in the book, I come upon the reason.

. I already knew the mother was a waste of space, but I’m not up for this. Not to mention, another
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,405 reviews1,856 followers
August 17, 2017
It's been a while (too long!) since I've had the chance to sink my teeth into a Halle read. I'm overdue on catching up on some of her releases (though they sure are piling up on my kindle..) but couldn't resist this one when I saw a bunch of my book buddies reading it in anticipation of the release.

Loss of love is the most terrifying feeling in the world. It's the feeling of your heart emptying, slowly being drained. Because that's the thing about love. It's free to give. Its never free to receive.

I might be a bit of a blacksheep on this one, though. At least so far. Because while I really enjoyed the Canadian setting, the rural wilds of BC, the small town, and the concept of the story, I didn't love the story itself. I'm noticing that I really struggle to be 100% convinced by second-chance romances though this one came pretty close, I think.

"The fault of man is that we never live long enough to be the person we want to be."

I loved the journey their relationship took; a connection that started so young and grew over time.. especially considering everything that was happening around them, and to them, and how the reader was woven in and out of the timeline. I really liked the build-up to their confessions and conversations, to reconnecting, but found the bit of middle ground while Rachel hemmed and hawed about what to do and how she felt.. kind of annoying. I would've liked a smoother transition but that's a personal preference.

"Cynics might tell you that young love isn't real love, but when love is real, it's real, and time and age don't have a damn thing to do with it."

But in the same way that I occasionally crossed over from just like into love for these characters, mostly Shane, I would still circle back just to 'like'. I could never take that final step off the edge and just fall into this. It was close.. but not close enough. And the same could probably said for the love story happening simultaneously but sorta in the background. Sometimes I really like these dual romances but not this kind and not this one. I won't spoil but.. no.

I'm wondering why I was so afraid to be alive when the alternative is so much worse.

WILD CARD tackled some hard issues, had a heartbreaking but enduring love and a shit-ton of heat -- both between our characters and in the dry-forest-fire-hazard way -- and while this didn't bowl me over, I'll definitely read on to experience the remaining two brothers' stories. I liked the town and I liked the family and I'm sure Halle can make me love one, if not both, of the books to come.

3.25 "I think that's the basis for real love, letting it burn you up from the inside out until you can no longer contain it" stars

** I won this ARC in a giveaway (thank you!) and I was under no obligation to review. The opinions stated above are my own.**
Profile Image for Jayme.
430 reviews439 followers
August 18, 2017
Another great series of Karina Halle. This time with Canadian sexy cowboys.

It is a second chance romance. They fell in love as kids, broke up as young adults then after 6 years meet again. And the feelings and unresolved problems returned.

It's sweet with some angst and hot moments. A bit predictable, but still entertaining.

I can't wait to meet the brothers in the next books.

ARC kindly provided for an honest review. Thank you!

Profile Image for a.
1,168 reviews
August 26, 2017
3.5 stars

I can't tell you what made me decide to read this book.

In fact, just a few weeks ago I was talking with a fellow book reader and we were talking about whether or not we read country/cowboy romance type books and I had told her that I had no interest in those kind of books and that they never really appealed to me.

But yet, here I am a few weeks later buying one of them and reading it.

It was only as I started reading the synopsis that I realized I haven't read a Karina Halle book in a really long time. 3 years, to be exact. I always buy her books when they are released but yet I never actually read them. So this time, I decided that I'd actually read the damn thing since I'm spending my hard earned money on it and all that. Plus I'd get to give this sub-genre a chance and see what the fuss is all about.

I was both pleasantly surprised and a tad bit disappointed with this book.

I love a good second chance romance, if it's done right. And while at first I was really into this book and the romance, after a while it started to lose it's spark. The big reveal was a bit underwhelming and while I still loved the characters I started to lose a bit of interest in their HEA and I'm not really sure why.

I usually don't like flashbacks but this is one of the few books where I felt like it really worked well. But then we don't even get the flashbacks for the really good scenes, that scenes that would have plenty of angst and have us pulling our hair out because of the feels and that was a little disappointing.

Also there is some pretty serious topic matter brought up concerning Rachel and her home life and I don't really like the way it was handled. I don't like how the mom is basically put in this "forgiving" light just because she's sick now and actually ends up getting a happy ending I don't forgive her mom for being a shitty mother to Rachel her entire life except now all of the sudden that she's dying and alone because she's been ostracized from the community, suddenly she wants to try to be a mom. And what's worse is that most of the time she can't even bother to be nice to her own damn daughter who completely uprooted her life just to take care of her. I felt like Karina Halle was really trying to redeem that character but I don't feel like she deserved to be redeemed.

I enjoyed the flashbacks because I felt like we really got to see how in love they were with each other and could really feel that connection. In the beginning when they first see each other again, I felt their love so deeply and I was so into the story. But then it makes this shift where it suddenly all becomes about sex? Don't get me wrong, I love the sexy times but the entire second half of the book is just sex, sex, and more sex whenever they are around each other and they never really spend time together as a couple trying to work through their problems. I would've liked to have seen them together longer as a couple, doing mundane things to show that their love was still strong in every way, even though it's been six years. I wanted that reassurance that even though it's been six years and they have both changed, they were still perfect for each other and that they still fit together perfectly. I wanted to see them talking and being out in town together, even working together more and building that connection again but they mostly just connected through sex and that wasn't enough for me.

As for the country aspect I will say that it's really interesting to read about a lifestyle that I know nothing about. I'm a city girl, through and through. I'd rather be stuck underground in a hot, disgusting NYC train than be out in the forest. Nature scares me, guys lol. I think it's beautiful and I am all for preserving and protecting nature and animals but I don't think I could ever live like they do. However, I actually really liked the setting and it was a nice change in pace from what I'm used to reading.

That said, I've got to admit that cowboys don't really do much for me lol. When Rachel would describe how hot he looked with his cowboy hat and talk about how sexy "her cowboy" was I was just kind of reading like

That's not to say I didn't think Shane and his brothers weren't hot because they totally were.

Despite my many wavering feelings about this book, I'm still really glad I read this and I'm definitely going to read the other books for this series! If you're unsure if you want to read this I think you should give it a chance.
Profile Image for -S♡.
321 reviews48 followers
August 24, 2017
★4 Stars! Wild Card... A raw, intense, well written, emotional and beautiful read about heartbreak, forgiveness, love and sacrifice!
She's my wild card.
“Love isn’t a chain, Rachel. It’s not a shackle. Love is what sets you free, love doesn’t confine. What I feel for you…it’s wild and it’s raw and it’s as fucking real as that sun above us.”
Profile Image for Yiota Misiou.
358 reviews52 followers
August 28, 2017
"I’ve let it build and boil and rage inside me. It raged beautifully for years. I think that’s the basis for real love. Letting it burn you up from the inside out until you can no longer contain it."
Profile Image for ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰ .
2,151 reviews1,206 followers
March 29, 2019

I liked it. It was a sweet ranchy, horsy, wildnernessy, Canadian, second-chance-romance with some heartbreak and excitement.
I liked all the people - I will definitely read the other two books one day.
It was a bit slow though. It dragged a bit. Shane was a bit too softish. I liked him, but he should've been a bit more manly cowboyish. But I really liked reading the story - it was a sweet romance.


Smokin Hot Book Blog Email
Profile Image for Rosalin.
263 reviews16 followers
February 9, 2018

I had a lot of trouble keeping up with all the characters in the story. I know all of Shane's brothers will each get a book but honestly I couldn't care less about any of them... maybe Maverick, the older one, but I was bored to death for most of the book and just wanted to know what was the reason for Shane to break up with Rachel all those years ago.

Since I've seen this next thing being a topic for most books, I'm a bit curious to know for sure if something like this actually happens in small towns. Basically being a victim of abuse in a small town will automatically turn you into a liar and no one will ever believe that someone with so much power as the town's Sheriff or whoever has power over there, could ever do such atrocious things and be the abuser.

That shit makes me sick.

Rachel's father was the town's Sheriff and he abused her for many years. Shane learns about this at the time and fights him off, almost killing the guy. Since the Sheriff had power, he makes Shane break up with Rachel or else he was gonna be sent to jail for attempted murder. Some time later Rachel's father was sent to jail himself.

Now here's what I don't get, if that was the main reason for Shane to break Rachel's heart, why didn't he reach out for her sooner or try to come clean since Rachel's dad was locked up way before Rachel went back to town? He could've done it sooner and save all the drama this book tried to feed me.

The amount of plot holes in this one will make your eyes bleed. The author mentions a lot of events but don't go into detail or do much of a follow up. It makes you think why it was mentioned in the first place.

This was all based on my personal opinion, I didn't love the book but it doesn't mean it's a bad one. Karina Halle knows how to write but this one didn't do it for me. I'm sorry.
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